Yallicella is reference to a depression which excisted at the time of Ancient Rome. The depression was still noticeable in the 12th century when the church was built and it was almost buried in the ground because of the floods. Therefore it was decided, by the end of the 16th century, to build a new church and the work was assigned to Filippo Neri. Construction of the church was completed in 1606 and since that time Santa Maria in Vallicella is more commonly known as Chiesa Nuova.
Since that time the whole square was named after the church, Piazza della Chiesa Nuova.
Right next to the Chiesa Nuova is Oratorio dei Filippini, designed in 1637 by the architect Francesco Borromini. In 1925 Fontana della Terrina was relocated from Campo dei Fiori to this square. In 1910 the square was embelished with the monument to Metastasio, an 18th century poet and librettist.
What was meant to be church that would epitomize simplicity as envisioned by the founder of the order known as Congregation of the Oratory - the friar San Filippo Neri - ended up richly decorated in frescoes after his death. San Filippo Neri did not only preach humility - but also admonished his aristocratic followers to practice such noble trait by becoming the laborers during the construction of the church. What a an ingenious way to keep construction cost manageable!
Built in the 16th century for San Filippo Neri, a reformist saint, Chiesa Nuova replaced the mediaeval church of Santa Maria in Vallichella. The new Baroque church was immediately called Chiesa Nuova, i.e. New Church, simply because it had replaced the older one. Against the wishes of San Filippo, after his death, the interior was elaborately decorated with beautiful frescoes by the Baroque artist, Pietro da Cortona. Also among the church's treasures are three paintings by Ruebens. Adjacent to Chiesa Nuova is the 17th century Oratorio dei Filippini, a Barromini work for the fraternity of Saint Philip Neri.
Begun in 1575 by Matteo da Città di Castello and continued by Martino Longhi the Elder, it was consecrated in 1599. Pietro da Cortona frescoed the nave, dome and apse. There are also three paintings by Rubens: Madonna and Angels above the altar, Saints Domitilla, Nereus and Achilleus on the right of the altar, and Saints Gregory, Maurus and Papias on the left.